Coca-Cola Invests in three national education programs in Vietnam

Coca-Cola press release

HO CHI MINH CITY, July 29, 1999 -- Mr. Douglas N. Daft, Senior Vice President, The Coca-Cola Company and President, Middle and Far East Group, today officially opened the 14th Coca-Cola Learning Center at the Binh Thanh District's Youth Cultural House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. By the end of this year, the number of centers will have doubled to 28, covering half of the provinces nationwide.

The Coca-Cola Learning Centers offer Vietnamese youth the opportunity to develop their computer skills. The project is a key element in a national education program to which Coca-Cola in Vietnam, in cooperation with The Coca-Cola Foundation in the U.S., has committed US$500,000. In addition to the Coca-Cola Learning Centers, the program supports an "English in Vietnam" language teaching curriculum and an annual national schools environmental awareness contest.

Mr. Daft, in Vietnam to mark "Five Years of Learning and Growing" since Coca-Cola returned to the country in 1994, said in opening the Learning Center "We know the Vietnamese government has designated education as a key driver of development and progress. We congratulate the leadership of the Vietnamese government for this initiative."

"Our commitment to education in Vietnam is very important to us. By the end of 1999, we will have invested close to half-a-million dollars in these unique programs."

The Coca-Cola Learning Center Program is carried out in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), and the National Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (NYU).

Mr. Dinh Duc Lap, Head of the Ideology - Culture Department of NYU, said his organization highly appreciated the program because of its beneficial 'mental and physical' effects on young people.

Prof. Dr. Tran Van Nhung, Head of MoET's International Relations Department stated, "I'm happy that the program motivates our school teachers and students to have a greater interest in learning."

The Centers, set up at schools and youth cultural houses, are places where students and young people can freely access modern computers and the Internet, helping them practice and develop skills learned in the classroom.

Coca-Cola is now in the third year of implementing its education and environment contributions to the country. The programs were created to help Vietnamese youth, through education, to become leaders in advancing Vietnam toward a prosperous future.

The first Coca-Cola Learning Center at the Le Quy Don High School in HCMC was opened in July 1997 by Mr. M. Douglas Ivester, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. Since then, ten Centers have been established in major cities and provinces, including Hanoi, HCMC, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Hue, Danang and Can Tho.

The "English In Vietnam" language teaching curriculum is a project of MOET and the Business Alliance for Vietnamese Education (BAVE). Coca-Cola has contributed $35,000 to development of 6th and 7th Grade textbooks; and last year, donated $80,000 to publish a l0th Grade textbook.

The "Green and Forever Green Planet" project aims to promote environmental awareness among young people throughout the country. The five-year program is co-hosted by Coca-Cola and the Young Pioneer newspaper. Contests of different types are held annually.

Last year, nearly a million young people entered an essay contest on environmental understanding and waste-recycling skills. This year, children have participated in a national art contest on a similar theme. As of mid-July, the newspaper has collected around 50,000 paintings by children across the country, making this among the biggest-ever school art contests held in Vietnam.

The efficiency of the programs is a top priority. Coca-Cola and concerned parties work closely to ensure the targets are achieved. In the near future, there will be training sessions for the administrators of the Coca-Cola Learning Centers. Participants will exchange experiences and initiatives on teaching methods and best use of the equipment. They will also take part in a contest to select the best centers, Scholarships will be awarded to individual winners and additional equipment to the best teams.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company and is the leading producer and marketer of soft drinks. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's best-known brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five soft drink brands, including diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite. Through the world's largest distribution system, consumers in nearly 200 countries enjoy the Company's products at a rate of more than one billion servings each day.

In Vietnam, more than 2,500 people have been directly employed by the Coca-Cola system. It is estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 indirect jobs in related industries have also been created. The Coca-Cola system has invested more than US$130 million in Vietnam since 1994 to develop the market.